Dinner in a Bag

Doesn’t that just make your mouth water? Hey, don’t judge–I’m sure you’ve enjoyed your fair share of cake-out-of-a-cardboard-box.

Anyway, this is the part where I show you a picture of the meal, but let’s face it–I don’t feel like it. Anyway anyway, lately we’ve been eating a lot of stirfry for several reasons. First, it’s easy. Second, it’s cheap. And third, it’s healthy.

Here’s how you start. Go to the grocery store and load up on cookable veggies on sale. I like any combination of carrots, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, celery, eggplant, bok choy, spinach, green onions, cilantro, parsley, peppers, cauliflower, gummy bears, wait… Tonight’s stirfry was cabbage, zucchini, peas, celery, and carrots. There’s no perfect proportions or combinations.

Then, chop/dice/julienne/tear everything up and put equal amounts into gallon freezer bags. Next, you can leave them vegetarian or you can add meat like I do. As far as I’m concerned, I think everyone should eat vegetarian…animals. My current batch in the freezer has ground turkey in each bag, but you can use anything else interesting like chicken or beef already cut up into stirfry sizes. I don’t recommend seafood in the bag unless it is in a separate baggy inside so you can control the cooking time. I only used about 1/4 pound in each bag to keep the cost down and the healthy up. Just pop the meat in with the veggies, and stick all those bags in your freezer.

When you need a quick dinner, give yourself 20 minutes to make this.

Cook some brown rice using one part rice to two parts water. Cook on high till boiling and then reduce heat to medium uncovered to keep it from boiling over. Orthodox rice cooking directions use fancy words like simmer, but I don’t like waiting forever to eat and as long as you watch it closely it won’t boil over. Once it gets close to being soft enough, turn off the heat and cover with a lid to let the rice soften up the rest of the way from steam.

At the same time as you’ve been doing this, (yes, this requires multitasking) take the bag of veggies and meat out of the fridge and dump it into a large saucepan or frying pan. If you forgot to take it out of the freezer, just dump it in anyway and let it steam a little bit longer in the beginning.  To that pan, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and 1/4-1/3 cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low to thaw if frozen or medium high if thawed. Next, I add some soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, and red pepper sauce from the asian cooking section if you feel the need for some extra heat. Be careful not to make it too salty with the soy sauce. Finish cooking just before the vegetables are done. It is so easy to overcook stirfry. The vegetables should be tender but not soft.

Serve hot over the hot rice and season to taste with soy sauce and red pepper sauce.

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